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Gualala Arts

Promoting public interest and participation in the arts since 1961.

Archive of past events: 2004 through 2014

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Seventh Annual
Redwood Coast Whale & Jazz Festival

Chowder & Jazz

with traditional New Orleans jazz by

Barnebey's Hot Four

Gualala Arts Center
Saturday, April 11, 2009

11:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.

Redwood Coast Whale and Jazz Festival logo

The Festival's second Saturday fun begins with Gualala Arts' seventh annual Chowder Challenge. This event is geared to all ages as local restaurant and amateur chefs vie for the title of "Best Mendonoma Coast Chowder."

2008 Chowder Challenge 2008 Chowder Challenge

A panel of 'celebrity' judges will determine winners in both professional and amateur classes in the categories of Traditional (New England Clam Chowder) and an Open Class (for all manner of seafood and even vegetarian chowders). A "People's Choice" vote of the patrons decides the most popular entry and there is even a cash award for the "Most Tasted" chowder!

This year the Chowder Challenge "People's Choice" and "Most Tasted" contests end promptly at 1:30 p.m. and the winners in all classes will be announced as soon as the tokens and tickets are counted, just to give patrons a chance to sample the winner's chowders before they are all gone!

2008 Chowder Challenge

The mid-day event includes a jazz concert (free admission for music only), of traditional New Orleans jazz performed by Barnebey's Hot Four of Sonoma County. The Hot Four perform free to the public from 11:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. during the tastings and is great for New Orleans traditional dancing! Fred Adler from KTDE, 100.5 FM is music coordinator of the event.

$20 admission includes a commemorative Whale & Jazz Festival Logo beer or wine glass, plus 15 tickets that can be used for the chowder tasting and beverages, including fine wines and microbrews as well as soft beverages. Hot bread fresh out of the oven is included in the tastings. Additional tickets are available for $1 each.

2008 Chowder Challenge 2008 Chowder Challenge: George Marshall

Pro Chef Chowders Entered

  • Justin Doughty - (representing Timber Cove Inn) was winner in 2004 and 2005

  • Robert Schneider - (Executive Chef at Sea Ranch Lodge) New face this year

  • Laurie Kreger - (Owner of Gotta-Cook) winner in 2008

  • Mike "Bone Daddy" and Mary Thomas - (Bones Roadhouse) New faces this year, but not competing; coming with their chowder . . . just for fun!

  • Javier Carbajal - (Cove Azul Bar & Grill) winner in 2007

Amateur Chefs Entered - all with Open Class Chowders!

  • Jim Grenwelge - (representing Culinary Arts Guild) - New rep for the Culinary Arts Guild with "Southwest of the Bridge Chowder, for those who like a chowder that bites back!"

  • Chef "PJ" Pastina - winner in 2005 and 2006 - This year back with a Mushroom Chowder

  • "Livelywood" (Gentry, Phil Kaijankoski, Erin & Keith Blackwood from Napa) Fresh Abalone Chowder; were winners in 2008

  • Randy Jones - New entrant with Mussel Stew

4/11/09 Update:

2009 Chowder Challenge Award Winners

Lagunitas Brewing Company

Butte Creek Brewery logo


Featured beverages include microbrews from Festival sponsors Lagunitas Brewing Company and organic ales and lagers from Butte Creek Brewery.

Fine wines will be poured by our own Annapolis Winery, recent hosts of the Festival's Wine & Jazz event Saturday afternoon, April 4.

Soon to retire as Surf Super's "Wine Guy", popular oenophile, John Micka, will be pouring some of his favorite selections and offering his sage advice.

There will also be bottled waters for purchase.

  Annapolis Winery

Surf Supermarket logo

Chowder Challenge Judges

This year's "Celebrity Judges" are all members of the Gualala Arts Interest Group, Dinner at Six.

  • George Marshall - chef extraordinaire, is the Triple Crown winner of the 2008 "Chowder Challenge" competition and 1st Place winner representing Culinary Arts Guild of the Am Trad category in 2007. While George is taking a bye for this year, judging instead of competing, he is now experimenting with different recipes for the 2010 competition.

  • Sita Milchev - has been cooking most of her adult life and grows many of her own vegetables in her coastal garden. Sita's recipe for traditional New England-style clam chowder won a 1st Place award for the Culinary Arts Guild in 2006, and she entered an exceptional Bulgarian Clam Chowder in 2004. Sita also served as a "Chowder Challenge" judge in 2007.

  • Paul Batchelder - local gourmand and enthusiastic member of Dinner at Six assisting his wife Paddy, a Dinner at Six 'team captain' for the past four years. Paul can also often be found pouring libations for Gualala Arts events. He was a "Chowder Challenge" judge in 2005 and 2007. Paul is looking forward to see what this year brings in the way of tasty seafood (and non-seafood) chowders.

2008 Chowder Challenge


Entry Form:
Calling All Chefs!
Winners of past years'
Chowder Challenges
Whale & Jazz Festival Chowder Challenge 2009, poster by Hall Kelley
  by Hall Kelley
8½"x14"   PDF icon 156 KB pdf

Barnebey's Hot Four

This formidable combo consists of Tom Barnebey, cornet and trombone; Carl Lunsford, banjo and guitar (formerly with Turk Murphy's famous S.F. band); Jim Cumming, bass violin, and Robert Young on reeds and cornet. Barnebey had appeared for many years in Gualala with his former Jazz Salvation Co. band, sponsored by Gualala Lions Club. Tom Barnebey

Tom Barnebey: Cornet & Trombone

Tom has been in trad jazz since the 1960s, when he began playing banjo and piano in pizza parlors around the Los Angeles area, and cornet with the then newly formed Jelly Roll Jazz Band. After moving to Sonoma County, he led the well regarded Jazz Salvation Company for 20 years. A highlight on the JSC's schedule in last nine of those years was the annual Dixieland by the Sea concert in Gualala. Tom is the currently the cornetist with the Zenith Jazz Band, leads a Roaring Twenties style quintet called "Beyond Salvation Jazz Band," and fills in on various instruments with other trad bands in the Bay Area.

Carl Lunsford

Carl Lunsford: Banjo & Guitar

A traditional jazz veteran, Carl played with the world renowned Turk Murphy Jazz Band in San Francisco, as well as the Ohio Dixieland Rhythm Kings, the Red Onion Jazz Band in New York, and the Golden State Jazz Band. He led the Rhythm Wizards and a number of other combos, and teamed up with pianist Pete Clute to form a high-powered trad jazz/ragtime duo.

Jim Cumming

Jim Cumming: Bass Violin

"Jumpin' Jim" Cumming has been a fixture on the Bay Area jazz scene for over 40 years. Some of his more recent gigs have been with jazz pianist Tom Donato and Eliot Kenons D'Jango Rhinehart style quartet, as well as Barnebey's Hot Four.

Robert Young

Robert Young: Reeds & Cornet

Prior to his move to Northern California, Robert was bass saxophonist in the legendary Golden Eagle Jazz Band in and worked with various other jazz bands in Southern California. Robert is a multi instrumentalist and a full time musician. His "day job" is piano accompanist for schools, choral groups and theatrical performances. He plays cornet and reeds with the Black Diamond Blue Five and his own group, the El Dorado Syncopators. In the recent past, he has worked with the Zenith Jazz Band, Fourth Street Five, and the San Francisco Starlight Orchestra.

The Gualala Arts Center, located at 46501 Old State Highway in Gualala, CA,
is open weekdays 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and weekends from noon to 4:00 p.m.
Please call (707) 884-1138 for more information, or email

Serving the coastal communities of northern Sonoma & southern Mendocino Counties.